Pun­jab tar­gets data sci­ences to im­prove gov­er­nance

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Big data col­lec­tion is seem­ingly be­com­ing the next tar­get of the Pun­jab govern­ment in a bid to im­prove over­all gov­er­nance in the prov­ince.

In that re­gard, the Pun­jab In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Univer­sity (ITU) launched a con­sor­tium for the de­vel­op­ment of ap­plied data sci­ence and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence in­dus­try. The con­sor­tium is a demon­stra­tion of com­mit­ment to em­brac­ing the emerg­ing data-driven tech­nolo­gies as a key en­abler in pros­per­ity of the na­tion as well as cre­at­ing a re­gional hub for data sci­ence and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence ad­vance­ment. Once es­tab­lished, it will help in im­prov­ing the over­all eco­nomic struc­ture and can help in ex­pand­ing the tax base.

“We are sit­ting on a large data­base which will now be au­to­mated for im­prov­ing the over­all gov­er­nance model and day-to-day trans­parency is­sues of the pro­vin­cial govern­ment,” said ITU Vice Chan­cel­lor Dr Umar Saif. He said the govern­ment of Pun­jab gave Rs57 bil­lion in sub­sidy through fer­tiliser com­pa­nies in the last fis­cal year, but by ap­ply­ing data sci­ence tech­niques, this year the sub­sidy has been re­duced to just Rs1.5 bil­lion with 15% fer­tiliser in­take recorded.

Sim­i­larly, in e-stamp­ing, the govern­ment has man­aged to earn an ex­tra Rs10 bil­lion and the Pun­jab Rev­enue Author­ity’s restau­rant in­voice man­age­ment sys­tem has brought tax re­ceipts of Rs1.8 bil­lion.

All such re­sults were data-driven which al­most elim­i­nated the loop­holes, thereby bring­ing ef­fi­ciency and trans­parency, Saif re­marked.

ITU will col­lab­o­rate with world-class prac­ti­tion­ers in data sci­ence and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and cre­ate in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions through ma­chine learn­ing. The Alan Tur­ing In­sti­tute, the na­tional cen­tre for data sci­ence and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence in the United King­dom, has sup­ported the scop­ing phase of the con­sor­tium and will con­tinue to share ad­vice as the as­so­ci­a­tion de­vel­ops. The UK has ben­e­fit­ted from ap­ply­ing data sci­ence meth­ods ex­ten­sively over the decades in health, fi­nance, law and or­der, etc.

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